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Deer probe to end up as hogwash?

punjab Updated: May 02, 2012 11:12 IST
Bharat Khanna

The three-member committee appointed to probe the death of 31 black bucks at the Beer Talaab forest deer park is yet to get into the investigation mode.

The team members, including assistant superintendent of police, sub-divisional magistrate, and deputy director of wildlife department, are yet to even sit together over the issue. The chief minister had visited the park on Friday, and claimed the incident had shaken him.

Sandeep Bansal, deputy director of animal husbandry, agreed that he was on the investigation committee but no one had yet called him for its meeting. SDM Ramveer, who took over the charge a few days ago, assured the reporter that experts were working on the case.

Meanwhile, a team of three veterinary doctors is yet to submit the autopsy report, the earliest deadline for which was Saturday. On Thursday (April 26), 29 black bucks died allegedly from fear after they were chased by a dog. On Sunday (April 29), a pack of canines in the deer park chased another protected animal, Neelgai.

On Saturday, the mystery over the death and cremation of the antlers also led to the suspension of three officials of the forest department (forest officer Gurpal Singh Dhillon, watchman Jarnil Singh and security guard) over charge of negligence.

Bishnois disturbed and suspicious

The deaths brought many Bishnois (who consider black buck to be sacred) to the site, and they smelled foul play over the entry of a dog through an open gate and a protective fibre net. The gate is 200 yards from the net shielding the buck cage.

Hurried cremation of the bucks, no information to local villagers, burning of the horns, the quantity of ashes not accounting for the dead black bucks, and the guards' reporting that no animal screams were heard put the Bishnois in doubt.

Autopsy report by Wednesday: Vet

Dr Navneet Kaur, leader of a team of veterinary investigators, claimed that the autopsy report was ready to be submitted on Wednesday. "Some of the bucks were killed when chased by a dog, and the rest died of shock and injuries because of stampede," she said.

Night patrolling ordered

"The canine attack on the neelgai had come at night," said district forest officer SP Anand. "Our team will now patrol at night and remain in touch with the police to keep predators away from the caged animals during night hours."